To consider a neutral, white, or off-white piece of dinnerware is to explore the nuances of a Heath glaze — each has a range of unique qualities, like finish, clay body, and edge condition, that set it apart from other glazes and give it a one-of-a-kind character. Is the surface finish glossy, matte, or a combination of both? Is it made with brown clay or white clay? Is the rim wiped or glazed? Let’s explore three white glazes that are equally beautiful, but demonstrate these qualities in different ways: Linen, Opaque White, and Sand.
Linen: Semi-matte finish; white clay body; glazed edge, available in Coupe and Plaza Lines. Soft, smooth, and warm, Linen is applied to a white clay body, and therefore doesn’t show a lot of contrast between the glaze and the clay.
Opaque White: Glossy finish; brown clay body; wiped edge; available in Coupe, and Rim Lines, the Alabama Chanin Collection, and on a selection of Accessories. One of our oldest glazes in continuous production since the 1950s, Opaque White is versatile and bright, yet earthy and grounded by its brown clay body.
Sand: Semi-matte finish; brown clay body; available in Coupe and a selection of Rim Line pieces with a wiped edge, and in the Chez Panisse Collection with a glazed edge. An off-white, almost grey glaze, Sand is applied to a brown clay body, which contributes to a speckled, granular look.
We use two clay bodies to produce all dinnerware and tile: white or brown manganese. Clay body influences glaze color in interesting ways — for example, our brown clay tends to come through on lighter, white hues. The Opaque White glaze, which features a brown clay body, yields an earthiness and depth to its glossy white finish. Linen, however, is white-on-white.
Glaze finish impacts the look and feel of the piece: how it reflects or absorbs light, how it feels to use, and how food rests on it. A matte finish is unreflective and opaque, and often has a subtle texture to its surface. A glossy finish like Opaque White reflects light, while a semi-matte finish like Sand or Linen is smooth, satin, and subtly reflective.
A wiped edge emphasizes the raw clay body and its material relationship to the glaze. Some edges are wiped, to reveal the clay body below, and some edges are left glazed. It's an intentional design choice and a legacy of Edith Heath's. Opaque White’s glossy finish always features a wiped edge — a striking contrast between light glaze and dark clay body, and a defining trait of many of our glazes.
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There’s a feeling and a look for any table. So much about our dinnerware is tactile: what it’s like to hold, to run your fork across the plate, to wash, and to dry. It is as much about how it feels to use as it is about how it looks, and we love how these white glazes illustrate the nuances of color, texture, and material inherent in our glazes — and we hope you do, too!